Writing has always been a dream that I have had. Even in grammar school, I wanted to write. My first story, â€œSnoopy and the Pineapples,â€ was a fruited retailing of â€œThe Boy Who Cried Wolfâ€ and a huge hit with my sixth grade teacher.
In high school I even worked up the nerve to send a story into a teen magazine, but since there was no cover letter, no query letter, and no information about the author (other than the byline on the story) I got a rejection. The sad part was that I didnâ€™t know WHY I got the rejection. There was no one to help me understand the industry.
Flash forward in my life to just five years ago. I attended my first writerâ€™s conference EVER! I went to the event fully expecting someone to tell me how great my writing was and to give me the steps to making a successful career out of writing. I didnâ€™t get either. After lots of study, research, and interviews with other writers, I have come up with some steps to help anyone become a full time writer.
1. You have to write. It may seem silly, but there are people out there that want to write one article or novel and make a million dollars or land a full-time gig. It might be possible, but it is highly unlikely. The more you write, the better your writing will get.
2. Show your writing. This doesnâ€™t mean you should ask mom and dad to read it. Give it to someone who will be honest about what you should do. Having a writing mentor online is great. There is a certain anonymity to the internet that makes honesty easier.
3. Submit your writing. Start local and work your way up. Or find your niche and bombard publications with your work until the acceptances out number the rejections.
4. Go job hunting. Decide what you will and will not write and then find the jobs you are willing to do. Value your work, though. Many people are taking jobs for one or two dollars just to have their name in print (online anyway). In the end, itâ€™s not worth it â€“ to you or to any other writer out there.
5. Stretch yourself. All the veteran writers that I have spoken with say that writing outside your genre is critical. If you write novels then submit some article ideas. I would expand that and recommend that you write outside your knowledge zone. If you write about family issues then write some animal articles. The internet provides you with the ability to research any subject at anytime. If you can find the information then there is no reason you canâ€™t write the article.
6. Make it a business. Treat your writing like any other job. Set aside a certain number of hours to write and put in your hours. Make a schedule of what you need to do and when it needs to be done and then get it done ahead of time.
7. Always, always, always keep learning. It doesnâ€™t matter where you are in the industry (or what industry that is for that matter). There is always something else you can learn or a technique you can perfect. Keep pushing yourself to get better. Take classes and courses. Join groups. Attend seminars and conferences. Make yourself a better you than you were yesterday.
Becoming a professional (i.e. paid) writer is just like anything else out there. It takes time, effort, practice and patience. Find your niche in the industry and then go for it.